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Gar Alperovitz Education. (2013) 'What Then Must We Do? Straight Talk About the Next American Revolution.' New.

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  CSPAN    Book TV    Gar Alperovitz  Education.  (2013) 'What Then Must We  
   Do? Straight Talk About the Next American Revolution.' New.  

    May 12, 2013
    2:00 - 3:16pm EDT  

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five years, 10 years, that kind of thing. in what became the basis of this book for a long time. ..
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most people don't often takes seriously, but think it is time to take seriously. and that'll do, item on of conventional politics. i worked in legislation, house, senate, government. , left during the vietnam war. that is over. but i come out of state politics. i have been there, done that. and the first argument of the book is that the problems that are coming up in this country are not strictly speaking political problems. they are political problems, but a better way to understand them -- and this is the first argument, that they are -- we are facing a systemic crisis, not simply political crisi
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what does that mean? one thing it means is that if you elect the next guy he probably will be able to do much even if we try to build a movement to shift them little bit, and i am for building a movement. other with a look at what is system crisises, and we will get to what that must be done if politics is not move the ball, another way to look at it is long, long trance that don't change but get worse over time tell you, you are dealing with something deeper down in the system than just what an election will do. so, for instance, the distribution of income has been getting steadily worse for 30 years. it is not about whether the congress right now is blocking. there is a two-party that certainly is about it, but the 30-year trend tells you something else is going on a much steeper or, for instance, virtually all of the economic
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gains kiver take small amounts to the last 30 years, you're laughing about this. all the gains of the entire mammoth american economic system virtually ever take have gone to the top 1%. that is an extra very change. and we could get into criticizing the top 1 percent, but much more interesting is what is it in the system that generates long, long strands of that kind? so it is another one. there has been virtually very marginal increases in average worker pay. 1130 years, but, you know, less than a dollar over time. so the same long trends have decayed. poverty has done and if we use of 14 and a half to 16 percent, if you use standards that are common in your or any other
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country in the world, poverty would be twice as high as it is in the united states. we use a very artificial standard of poverty, which was invented oddly, by the government bureaucrat in the late fifties, takes of food budget of a poor family multiplied by three. no reason to multiplied by three. suggested. multiplied for the world, poverty is defined as half of the median income, half of the middle-class poverty. and by the world's standard color double. it is an increase, not decrease overtime. so these are some of the kind of trend data to tell you that something is going on deeper down in the economic system and in the political system. you can tell by simply an election year there. well, take another one. this year to production has gone up steadily and a 20% got
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30 percent of the last year's. civil liberties have gone down over time. imprisonment, if you're interested in the value of liberty, imprisonment per hundred thousand people in the united states is higher than any other advanced country by eightfold. eight times in seven to eight and it depends on which country, including russia and including china. and it has steadily gone worse. so those are just some of the introductory things that makes you say, we have been electing democrats and republicans, democrats, republicans to miss something deeper and the system is driving along trends that we face in systemic crisis. you have to change the system if you want to change the trend. and that is the problem of reface. and then, of course, the question is what then is to be done because that is overwhelming challenged almost anybody who thinks about it in any serious way. so the first part of the book
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lays that out and tries to explain some of the reasons why that is so. one part of that, and it is important, particularly in this sense, you know the problem because of the difficulties you have had in terms of labor year, the fight with walker and the fights that have gone over unions and public unions and so forth. traditionally the solution to economic and political problems in wisconsin or in the united states in the last 50 years and in europe and the last 50 years, in europe because social democracy. in the united states wiggle liberalism a progressive. so the way that the -- the way the process works is very simple the structure the economy and give covert ownership of large amounts of capital to the corporations. they get done the capital. and the leakage on the capital. that is the nature of the economic system, and then when there are difficulties on inequality, problems are getting
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less resources, environmental difficulties, when there are difficulties -- will let folks sit down as mark coming in. come on in. you will carry on. please demand. the way this system is designed in the with the politics of the system undesigned is that the system is about to this town the capelin the wells . the corporations and tiny deletes on the large corporate part of the economy by and large -- let me give you a number. this number is so staggeringly have this kind of let it sit there in your lap for a minute and look at it. in the united states today 400 people -- not%, people, you probably could get there in this bookstore own more capitol,
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mainly in corporate stock, corporations than the bottom 180 million people taken together. let's that once that there. that is the system or one element of the concentrated ownership of wealth, largely corporate wealth in this system. the medieval design. i said that had an election recently and some historian, medieval a story came up and said, that's right. it was never that concentrated in medieval times. but you are living in extremely concentrated systems ownership. so, what is interesting is, that system, when i worked in the congress and win most liberals still think about it the following way, we can organize politics tighter tax. they on the capital. we tax them and stand for good things will regulate them to deal with the environment always try to constrain and manage the
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system. that is basically what is called liberalism and that is called social democracy in the design of the system and brought. and it is that process to which i was deeply involved with in both the house and senate and many people were still involved with. that is a process that is failing, and the reason you know what is failing, not marginally, is because the trends don't change. they just get worse. that is a very, very challenging set of arguments, and it is even more challenging is a reality. now, very briefly, one of the main reasons that whole system is failing is because at the core of the progressive, you know, john kenneth call the countervailing power. the corporations of power. countervail and managed to regulate and tax, spend. at the core of that power was an institution, a very important institution called the american labor union. and that gave muscle to the
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progressive movement along with the movement activities. and the difficulty is, and this is happening all over the world, but never -- nowhere is bad this year, labor has gone from 34 and a half% of the labour force as members of unions in the peak year, 1953. has now gone down to a 113 in the private sector. and something in the range of seven and a half percent in the private sector. the labor organizations, unions, money and muscle for elections and progressive liberal politics like gaylord nelson, the senator from the state, that whole system that kept the system in balance is became the fourth rise. now, obviously this book, what then was to me to -- "what then must we do?," goes into much more detail than i guess that's briefly, but the argument that we face is a systemic crisis is that the old way of trying to us and the trance don't work in more.
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so, now you have a problem. is there may be no way for. that is a logical option. but if they're is a way forward probably it would have to get at the underlying issue in all systems which is, who gets on the wealth? and probably it would have to alter in some way the benefit of the vast majority the wealth. somehow that would probably have to be done. systems largely, very briefly, are characterized largely by who does on the well so that in feudalism it was land perry and the church in the king and the wealth. they control the system. nineteenth century capitalism small farmers, small-business farmers, they operated as a businessman. they sold in the market, like a peasant farmers. they produce something like jacksonian democratic processes.
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very widespread ownership of wealth and the private ownership, and that was a different 19 century ed small kind of capitalism. in the soviet union this state on the walls and the concentrated power they're undermined democracy and liberty in that system. and the conservatives -- i'm not a conservative, but they're right about this. but all the wealth of the state and have a real problem. and so are the anarchists, by the way. that model is very difficult. so, the compromise case, which was operations on the wealth. we tried to countervail. that is the one that is failing. what you going to do? those of the systems that we know something about. so either their is a new system direction that changes the ownership of wells for the pain continues. very, very hard problem. i think we live an extremely challenging moment in world history.
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not only here is this happening. it's all of the world. it's happening faster here. what is interesting about the time, and this is the second major argument of the book, if you look beneath the surface of what is going on with the press covers, and the press can cover this because the press is under tremendous pressure. they're literally broke. they don't have reporters uncovering a thing local commander don't want to in many cases, but newspapers just don't have reporting staffs to do anything in that anymore. but if you were able to do that, and we do a lot of research on this that the democracy at the university of maryland, it turns out that there is a lot going on that is not being covered. and what is really interesting about it, if you think about the system's and you think about systems as they relate to who this down the walls, it is that one of the dominant characteristics is changing who is on the wells but in a radically decentralized way that may be permits democracy to grow
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along with wealth ownership, like state ownership. so what do i mean? and i will give you some statistics and some illustrations that are partly the result of past developments in american history and partly an explosion of things going on at the grass-roots level that most people don't know about and that we have just done a lot of research about and recorded in the book. so, the most obvious example, particularly in this state, a cooperative is a democratic ownership of wealth structure very decentralized and but it does change. it is that a corporation. it is not the state, and it does change to this town in control of. 130 million americans are members of cooperatives in the estates. most people don't know that. a lot of them, credit unions, which are one-person, one-vote banks. it is right out here. very american. has just been rediscovered, the potential of what the corporate movement might do. me give
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you an interesting example. i have to write about this. have been talking around the counple keep sending me example after example after example. so this is out of burlington, vermont. many traditional credit unions are kind of stuck in the mud. there are very good institutions, but they don't do much creative. they will give you a lot freer carreras and that's it. they don't do much more than that. a kind of invest in new kinds of -- i will give you some ideas of some of the creative businesses that are being developed. there are not taking risks of all. they're much more cautious than most bankers. so that is kind of thought. something more progressive. if you actually look a little deeper, most credit unions are run by very run-of-the-mill guys have been doing a year and year out. there is no democracy because no one ever comes to the board meetings are comes to the annual meeting because there is nothing
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to talk about. why bother? and so the samave been running in the same way for ae. but they are one person, one vote banks. and moreover, the credit unions in the united states combined have more capital than any one of the biggest banks, you know, in the united states. bank of america. they have more capital. they are big deal. in burlington activists who wanted to do something more creative said they start going to the annual meetings and no licking their own people. and that can be done and is being done in many parts of the country to take an existing possibility and began to democratize it in fact rather than in theory. but the numbers : your head, 130 million people already. there are 10,000 worker-owned companies in the united states. 11 million people involved. 3 million more than members of unions in the private sto
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them are bad, some of the are evolving, but they give you another way -- and this is what we're talking about, to think about the proposition that if systems are about who gets stuck on the wealth because power grows from off, and if you don't want the state because that over centralizes, that either their is a decentralized weather is not a way. co-ops, worker-owned companies democratic unions began to suggest another possibility. so i give you another illustration and the book has a lot about this. land trusts aren't interesting model. what is a land trust? draw a circle around an urban neighborhood are rolling bread, put up a non-profit corporation, and you land. what that means -- so you take social origin of the land through something like a nonprofit corporation. now, what that allows you to do, you can control and fell in
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price inflation and housing inflation because instead of the developers taking money on it by owning it by a nonprofit corporation democratizing unit, you could control the process and you don't have to keep people out of their houses where you can let part of the land go of and celts the high-rise are rented to high rise. use the profits to subsidize housing because if you on the land or if you're on the capitol you can take the profits and use them for other purposes, in this case low-income housing. that used to be an idea, very oddball ideas. there was one in vermont 35 years ago, and there was one in georgia 35 years ago. and people go, that's crazy. they're all over the country now because you cannot give an of political power to tax and then spend. so you get gentrification. you get to a city like california where you would not expected. 5,000 units of housing and land trust ownership. chicago is doing it. washington is.
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because there is no other way to answer the problem you cannot regulate, you cannot tax-and-spend. what is left is actually taking over ownership in some decentralized like. and land trusts are really interesting because they're popping a everywhere. land is a big deal that most people pay attention to. i will give you a few more illustrations. won't bore you with this endlessly, but i will give you a couple. most people are not aware that 25 percent of american electricity is socialized. he probably did not know that. public utilities and coal operators produced 25 percent of american electricity. it is as common as grass throughout the country, including the south. people beginning to say, why don't we build on that tradition rather than ignore it? so if you look at the new york times to ask about three weeks ago the business page section had a front-page big article, power to the people.
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it was all about the movement to make democratizing and ownership of utilities. the real how one gun a caller right now. sixteen or so of the last several years that have been taken over. so i'm giving you a picture of something developing at the grass-roots level that the press is not covering, but the most important cracteristic is it is about who gelets to, changing the power base of the system, and its sng. why? because of pain level spreading. and people are desperate that you cannot do it the old way. you cannot tax-and-spend and elected good guy. does not work, so you have to either roll up your sleeves and began acting in changing things ourselves or it won't change. virtually all of this also has an ecological flavor. all the projects -- not all, but most are green. also, connected with this is kind of an agricultural movement , urban agriculture, and also csa, agricultural from farms, groups and cities.
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there is a whole movement part of this. another piece of it that takes on various forms, social enterprise. out of that is a term that's your note. as a social enterprise to make houses of these popping up. and is reporting the news. social enterprise, some of these sets of the business to make money. the only purpose is to provide for a social service. that is with the business is about. traditional one, there'll one sent thousands of new ones. pioneer human services in seattle. probably don't know about it. it was set up to do rehabilitation for seriously ill people. and they started 35 years ago. it was mostly grants. grants to help people with problems. and slowly they realized that if they're going to get anywhere you still have to have jobs and job training. so they start building those stores, restaurants, hotels, factories in order to give these people jobs.
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and so because then the therapy works. there is a future. and then they realize they could make enough money and other businesses that were of socially to begin financing the drug rehab programs. you get the model. you begin to transform the ownership, and that is all one has been there 50 years and stands there. these are popping a ball of the country. another way to transform the ownership of wealth reasons i am giving you this kind of detai and i will give you a website. a lot of it is in the book. "what then must we do?." is being done here and can be done anywhere in the country when people begin to realize they're doing it over there. we could do here. it is not that hard. people of beginning to get information. there is a website. community wealth. but the-in because there is on without the-, and this simply surveys and kind of -- if it is not there it can lead to another website with more detail. another wild land trust.
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and the way that i think about this as a historian, this process, and why it may have larger implications is that it is beginning to train and lay down the foundations overtime which are building up knowledge and people and awareness and, if the conditions continue that process is likely to go on. so, if you look at the new deal, when the new deal took place, what did bill long? it built on the things that were happening locally in the so-called state and local laboratories of the nation, like wisconsin where people were working out things that became social security. they're working of the principles of the state level, labor law principles were developed at the state and local level, and when the moment was right and left experience was available to move that to the national level. i think that analogy is very important. i will give you another analogy to belie these experiments, more
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than experiments take on a different kind of feel when you say what then must we do because you can do this. they can do this in cleveland, and i will come to cleveland, it can be done by anybody who wants to do it. another analogy, in the 19th century the prehistory of the populace and progressive mayor looked exactly the same. of thig level that began building politics and began extending to the national level as time went on. our third analogy, the feminist movement in the 19th century look to the women. year by decade by decade by decade, state by state by state by state for 50 years until they had enough power and then moved and took over the national constitutional debate. so as a historian at pay attention to this kind of thing, particularly when there are signs that it is likely to continue because the pain levels continue and are no answers. so that is
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i'm not going to go into some much detail about the other processes. they all have this characteristic, changing the ownership of wealth and doing it in a way that democratizes it but does not state tax it. very american. very american. we are changing in transforming ownership. this is not soviet union. it is down home. it wisconsin. is the kind of thing we find that you suddenly find it in madison, and it is much more important in my view, and it is spreading. so here are a couple of other areas. the state level, this is mostly grass-roots neighborhood level. i mentioned one city level that is public ownership of utilities. that is getting to the city level. the state level something else has happened. here is another development. you all know about the bank of north dakota. the bank of north dakota has been there for 90 years. the state of north dakota. socialize bank. the state owns the bank.
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it is supported -- a very conservative state. it is highly supported by small business, farmers, cooperatives because it is a functioning public bank. twenty states have introduced legislation to set up the bank like the bank of north dakota. if i am not mistaken, you still have a very small public insurance company in the stake that has been headstand, but there it sits in the progressive era and could be expanded upon. but banking at the state level and at the city level, every city has money from tax. when they put a? they usually put in the big bank . somebody knows somebody. you could put in the credit union and say, use it for community purposes week reported in as small citibank can say, if you use it for community purposes we will put the money in and you can have that for your funding. that is happening all over the country. the use of public money of that kind. is another piece of this puzzle,
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finance and other things we're talking about. many parts of the country there is talk of setting a citibank scum a city-owned banks. when not? the taxpayer money is there any right. he put in a bank, i don't know how much you guys know about banking, you multiplied -- lead bank does with your deposits, if you give them $10,000 in deposits, they get to land at $90,000. that is so works. and some money is created. and that is of the federal reserve board does it in another way. most people don't know. money is really crazy. crazy banking, but that is so works. this created usually on a multiple site. as a deposit money in its own bank or in the bank of north dakota has that power to really invest large capital in these things and make them grow. another example, the health care system, and this is one to pay attention to. the health care system is almost 20 percent of the u.s. economy fifth. 18 percent right now.
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no small change. think of it as an industry. the fifth in the economy, almost. that system is in terrible shape , and it has huge cost problems and it is going to be throwing people out of the health care system when employers said want to pay for it. finding ways to get people down and pay the fine instead. and levels are already beginning to grow, and the cost is low. there is no solution available in my judgment. there's a whole chapter about this, except the cost and the pain will increase. where the rubber hits the road is in the state's. and state-by-state, many states are beginning to consider one or another form of approach to single payer health care. what is single pair? that is public ownership of the basic insurance system. vermont is on track to do it next year. connecticut is close. california did it twice and it was vetoed by schwarzenegger, but the pressure that is creating it, that is the ball to keep your eye on. this is not simply because folks
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that is a good idea. we have set a lot of good ideas and politics will deal with them. but pain levels are growing, and the solutions are not easily available, and what then can be done is in fact being done in many states one by one. and i sometimes use the phrase in the book, in checkerboard fashion. they get some of the states and they do nothing with them. it is going to get to the right, but that is not the whole story. the checkerboard has a lot of other squares on a were people like doing interesting things in building a models, and when the model fails they may find other models that have been developed as a basis of an ex political movement of this kind. so some local things, some of the city level, some of the state level. i suppose you noticed that we have just nationalize to of the biggest of companies in the world, and nationalized the biggest insurance company in the world, general motors and chrysler, aig.
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nationalization and the united states. yes, we just did that. facsimile stallone aig. when the money began to flow and when we gave back general motors , most of it. it is going back after the taxpayers pay for, but those models, major systemic problems with a system that does not collapse, but huge systemic risk problems occur and now likely to go on in the future, and it is not beyond the possibility, in my view, of a long, developing movement that learns enough on the ground about how you actually do these things, how you actually managed democratically own institutions that some point to some of those institutions paid for by the taxpayers will become significant institutions that may become public utilities. now, that is way down the line. maybe, you know, i am a historian. to the three decades is the usual time from that. that is the progressive movement
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in the paucity of populist movement, but if you're facing a systemic crisis, and that is the argument of the book, and i think that is the truth, either you build up step-by-step by step the preconditions of the next transformation or it does not happen. what is interesting is that slowly step-by-step the evidence is more and more things are accumulating partly out of pain, partly out of young people and older people rolling up their sleeves and doing it. the pain will continue unless we do something, and that is beginning to generate what is called the new economy movement. i don't know if you referred that term. a lot of young people and a lot of older people are involved in a spreading through the people trying to do these things with the intention. politics' begins when you get to the stage of intention, not simply watching the development unfold, was saying, hey, there's something going on. if we then began to move as a movement we could accelerate and build upon what is beginning to
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happen. so let me tell you a little story and give you an idea of where this goes over time and if you look at a 30-year pattern rather than a picture, a snapshot that i just gave you, you get a different sense. i was involved in ohio and 1977 when the first major collapse of the steel industry occurred. some of you in the audience may remember youngstown went down. 5,000 people lost their jobs from one bank. black monday, they call the. 5,000 people in youngstown, the community would go down as well. and so the steelworkers in that town and this city -- the ecumenical coalition of the city , the catholic bishop, the priest, the rabbi, they all get together and formed a joint worker ecumenical coalition strategy to put the steel mill back on track. they said, hey, america, very american idea.
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why can't we do this? why can we put this thing together? 5,000 people roll up your sleeves. let's do it. we need to recognize, that is an american cultural idea. we are ahead. people don't think that way. we are ahead of a lot of european people in the sense that the culture is a very get up and go culture. it is a big asset, but that was their attitude. a sidebar story. the one guy, one of the steelworkers in gerald dickey, it was his idea. why don't we do that. so while the businessmen and the community took him aside and said, you want a steel mill? i can tell you so much better stock to buy. that was not the name of the game. they want to take over the milk. and so they did their organizing and they did their politics and they got the church is involved and they got the community involved in the of the local pressure and get the press. they did there work. they got the carter administration at that time to finance the $200,000 technical study of how to do it.
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now, $200,000 in 1977 was, you know, a couple million now. it was a big, big and highly professional study. top experts in the steel industry. that is why they do all that. this bill could be finances and be competitive. all you need is a $200 million grant. and then they got the carter administration the pledge a loan guarantee for $200 million against a professional study under worker community ownership . incredible achievement. because the money went away after the election in 1978. we don't quite know why the money went away, but probably it went away because you cannot prove this. the big steel operations 110, and so did the labor national international union. the international steel workers union was publicly opposed to the local guys. it now want to mess with this. they also did not like these upstart activists getting involved because they might challenge the international. and so they cut it to read
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inspiriting there went to washington immobile resettle note that went public against it. they did not get their mail, but they knew that the name of the game was not just what we can do today. and we did a huge educational campaign around the state of ohio, the national religious groups, wherever they could, student groups and in the state of ohio there are probably more worker owned companies, maybe more less than any state in the country because they did there work to spread the idea. and at penn state university they set up a little non-profit to help people. howdy build worker on companies out of this experience? so that is a developmental process that went on. thirty years later in cleveland you have the most sophisticated development so far in this movement. so we went from worker-owned companies developing piece by piece. to go to cleveland, here is what you see on the ground in the following neighborhood. and it is really interesting, and it comes out of the developmentatr.
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you want to play this game? look at it as a developmental problem. you have to fight the electoral battles. we're talking about historical change. institutions and systems. that means a couple decades are today's on the table in cleveland out of the ohio experience starting with youngstown. was one of the guys who helped design. if you go to cleveland, you will find in the following neighborhood of 40,000 people, poor neighborhood in cleveland. really poor. 40 percent unemployment. black and $18,000 family income. in the middle of that neighborhood you will find a sophisticated group of worker-owned companies which include, for instance, not your little corner co-op, the largest urban hydroponic, largest urban hydroponic greenhouse in the united states. by largest i mean, they produce
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3 million heads of lettuce per year. you want to get your head around that. to do that you must plan to 26,000 heads of lettuce every single day. so that is a bigger operation. there is a large scale industrial laundry worker co-op in a complex, and it is probably the greatest laundry in that part of the country. but a third of the water and a third of the heat, and it beats the competition in terms of cost and pays a reasonable wage. that is another one of the worker on companies. and then there's a big solar installation company which is on line to produce something like more installation capacity solar than exists in the entire state, and they're planning to do one or two new every year. so that is the scale of that, but what is really interesting is, not only that the idea of worker ownership has gone further in changing who owns the capital by practicing reality. has a couple of other features.
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partly drawn upon the famous for cooperatives in spain and for those of you who have not been following that, 85,000 people in a very sophisticated cooperative structure that is competitive on the world market, partly dry on that experience committees worker-owned companies are not just worker-owned companies in it for themselves in cleveland. their links together with a nonprofit corporation. some of the profits back to the community. in building answer the community possibilities. trying to use profits to build the community, not simply to make specific workers rich or wealthy in some sense, though they are advancing themselves. in another part of the profits go into a fund to capitalize and provide investment capitol for other worker-owned companies that you can build new ones. so is a complex of growing worker owned companies in the
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rebuilding the community and multiplying league together with the revolving fund a nonprofit corporation, so much more sophisticated, integrated model that overtime has been developed even more sophisticated than what i said. by the way, you can do this any place. back to many, many cities are doing something like the following. we add to, the developmental path, what they thought about it, and it came right out of his earlier experience. in the middle of this poor, poor community are three major -- lots of major institutions, but three well-known ones, the cleveland clinic, one of the world's leading hospitals, case western reserve university and university hospitals. big, big institutions. they all have a lot of taxpayer money in them. educational money, hospital money, medicare money, and they're sitting there.
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and unlike big corporations that can come and go, they can't go anywhere. they are so-called anchor institutions. they are anchored. you have them, too. every city has gotten. in that poor neighborhood, they buy $3 million in goods and services every single year. does the million? i'm sorry, billion. billion. leaving aside their salaries, that is separate. that is more. the construction, that is more. just what they buy, none of it is from the community. light bulbs go on, taxpayer money. port community, worker-owned company. why not ask them more request organize or pressure or force one way or another, buy from these entities and help develop an entire economy based upon worker ownership and building the community is all using this
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clause i public money to do that . and after an factum is what is happening in cleveland, and atlanta and in many other cities around the country, including amarillo, texas to of all places. many, many other cities. aleppo has gone. we are not getting the deflected different models and beginning using what is available in developing the theory, note carefully that you better transform who gets down the wealth or the power is going to go back to where was. all this is about practical ways to begin democratizing of in real terms and in expanding basis to the real american communities. enough of the illustrations, and i also don't want to talk too long run this because i want you to read the book. it is much more interesting than the stock, but what then must we do, we can, in fact, build on this. what people learn from this is, this is really interesting. i've worked in the cleveland model as well.
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folks have gone out there. part of our staff has been involved. the really important thing for people to understand because they don't understand it is, if you can do it there we can do it here. in bringing people in. this is what we're doing. you guys can do it. this is how we do it if you need some help every technically all of the seventh to become an abstract and so forth, it is down home, clearly can be done and not to be done because other people doing it. that is some movement it build. begin to illustrate this. now, stand back. of all go on too much longer because you're probably getting tired of this, but let me give you a little broader sense. remember, and historian as well as a political economist, think of things in time dimensions. i think about those guys in youngstown, ohio, steel workers command a 30-year process is that it's a more sophisticated. i think what you can build on that. if conditions are right.
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so that is the next part of the argument. it is possible that these many developments and thousands of others that are going on will be sidebar interesting the experiments, not more. and it is possible that the trends that i allied will simply decay. that is what could happen to the system. it is possible that there will be violence and repression and fascism or something like that. that is also a logical possibility will. and the pain grows people get crazy. things happen. probably violence first like oklahoma city bombing and possibly boston. i'll was like to stop here and remind people because people have a vested interest in pessimism. you know, a vested interest
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because if nothing can be done y'all have to do anything. so i just want to remind people because -- these are options to moscow, historical options. if you look to latin america over the last three decades you will find repressive fascist regimesey had been. they're gone in most countries. so even fascism is not the industry, though it can be extremely ugly and painful. so that is another option. it is also possible, if the conditions are right, that we are laying the foundation for something much logic to be transformed if. that is the hard one for people to get their hands around. you mean ask? we, americans might be laying groundwork in transforming ownership in a radically decentralized way piece by piece and beginning to develop a theory and vision. i want to remind you, i am hard
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headed person who has managed the house and senate staff and been a very messy political fights, been there done that, no real politics. now returning. you mean, you're saying maybe historically we might lay the groundwork for a larger transformation of the 30 years so? building upon this emerging transformative, potentially transform a division, changing who gets down the capital. socialize in the co-op's in a radically down-home american way that does not end of centralizing everything but also does change and transform who gets down, that might be possible. yes. it might be possible. that is what i am contending. maybe. who knows? and you get to spend your money and see what happens with the game. now, that is how is it always done. you never know is startling
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whether anything is going to change. you always are looking into the future that is not known. now, my heroes in all of this, just to give you a little bit of insight, and if you want to think about it, play this game. the chips are decades of your life. you don't play unless you understand long-term change. my heroes of the civil rights workers in mississippi. the 1930's. they lay the groundwork without which the 1960's could not have happened, and you don't know their names, but that is where the hard work was done. the civil rights was about hard work. but i'm saying that potentially we are in an era where the possibility of laying the transformer possibility, well. did you say transformer if? yes. system changing. it is within the realm of human possibility that we are laying groundwork and could come within tension, that means the person
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sitting in your seats and might, with the intention malady we could look to try to build a movement and change the system. in a very american, radically decentralized, powerfully democratic way to respect the traditions of this country, and it is different from many of the traditional, boring 19th and 20th century models. it is not like the soviet union, and it is not like corporate capitalism, and it does not look like liberal holding these things together. maybe very american if we so created. pretty utopian stuff. but the interesting part in my judgment for the reasons i gave at the outset, a decline of liberalism, tell your of the labor unions, the change in power is likely to continue to give us conditions of growing inequalityains,
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growing ecological difficulty and more and more people waking up and saying, like the occupy people did, something is really wrong here. more and more young people and cannot find jobs are getting to roll up their sleeves and saying either reduce or is not going to change. i think the conditions we are facing are not going to be resolved, and that nature of that particular kind of historical context is a peculiar with. it is not like a classic collapse of the marxist stuff, revolution. public up to the right, not the left, and it is not the pendulum will swing, liberal power will come again. it is decaying, stagnating context like we are beginning to experience. now, talk to young people are feeling yourself.
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people really begin to say something is going on. this was not the way it was supposed to be. this is the richest country in the history of the world, and people begin to say to my there is a new path toward or is going to get worse. remember, i look at it as a historian. the possibility, i think the argument of this book is we enter an era where the real possibility, not the abstract possibility -- this drive people crazy. the real possibility of systematically laying the foundations for a possible transformation are with us. it is our responsibility to look at that and say, hey, maybe we could actually do this if we got serious. i'm talking to the person in your chair, you know. it is with the intention that we were actually to get serious, we might be able to get ourselves to a place where we thought we
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might be even able to act as historically as the civil rights kids in mississippi and see themselves as historic actors. transforming the system. it does that ever happened? kino, the berlin wall that fall, the soviet union did collapse. apartheid did collapse. small farmers and merchants and took on the biggest empire in history of the world, the british empire and outgunned thousand to one. things happen maybe sometimes. i am not an inevitable list. and believe anything is inevitable, including i don't believe it is inevitable that there will continue to control everything as they are now. the we are taught to believe that nothing can change. that is the theory of inevitability. but it is possible also that merely what will happen is we will do some good things and help strengthen the society and help some people by building these things. that is also useful, but just
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possibly within my we do, what then must we do, what then can we do, we will build a movement to peculiar to american culture, radically decentralized, built on the can-do spirit, built on the community kind of sense in america that we are decentralizes the country that action is the foundation for something new may be. so the game is, you get to try it if you want to and you get to watch it if you don't. we are all in that team together. so thank you very much. [applause] >> the occupy movement. >> the occupy movement, what then happened to the occupy movement? if i may we characterize, they came and went and nothing
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happened. is that is what you're saying? well, as a historian things like that are often what happens in the prehistory of a great movement, explosions occur and there not -- the society is not ready to take a month, even in a movement building way and it paid away. however -- the press does not cover this because we don't have a press -- if you actually look carefully at what is happening in the new economy movement, often what you will find is people who met each other in the occupy movement and formed a small groups that they would not have otherwise formed and are actually doing the kinds of things i'm talking about. but i consider that a preliminary explosion, a very important explosion, but it would be not surprising if the first explosion did not disappear and leave something behind. there will be many, many more, probably much quieter in my opinion, but i think that is my
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judgment. some of it was very positive. everywhere i go you find people who were not doing anything political. here me. they were not doing anything political. and occupy got them out of that move into doing something, and there were struggling now. you are fine -- you find they're doing a lot of problems. crystallizes those kinds of things and is very interesting in that respect. >> the university of wisconsin. universities used to be ways stepped decrease the amount of inequality in our society to empower people in the door and mental process to achieve various goals. now, what is happening right now is that we are creating a generation that is burdened by debt, trillion dollars of debt.
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indenture services and inside the university as we both know, a member of a tenure track some professors. decreasing. and number of individuals are highly skilled, working as ad giant. i'm wondering, are there ways for us to apply what you're saying about rethinking these institutions to the places where we've both worked at the university. >> that is another sign of the crisis. a ridiculous cost of the university. it cannot -- the public should pay, but it is all loaded on to the students. outrageous and unbelievable that. and the abject and the at johnson are rented. so i think that i live in a university that system is collapsing, and that think it will collapse and there will be a transformer possibility or it was just decay in tiny, tiny fractions. although the term.
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>> open an online courses. >> to a 300,000 people take a course. it is wonderful as an achievement. it is undermining the old traditional structure of the universities and systems. i think that the whole model is going to be blown apart and probably should be. it's not clear. >> a quick one. a cooperative structure for education is a possibility. >> i have seen co-ops that i try to do educational work, but i have not seen university research, funding of research. by the way, the economics. it was so bad. how the thing cambridge was started? , said dissident and faculty,
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the students hired the professors in those days. the load groups of students that wanted to be taught, so they hire someone to teach them. we may see an innovative thing like that to my don't know, but the system is clearly in prices. >> the two-party system, the paper plastic system. democrats, republicans. everyone to call them. in the 30's there was the third large political party that was operating the that was very much supporting civil-rights. as a matter of fact, it is called the common party. democrats and republicans. can you talk about that? >> it is interesting. if you demythologizing the demonize the communist party and
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go to the south where the communist party was really important in integrating the black light and no one else has been willing to touch the race issue. there is a very great history. there is also really lousy history of the communist party, authoritarian, dishonest commanded not have the vision of mind that i would support. yes. you know, i do not think -- i do not like where the communist party was proposing and still you have to say some of the gas or influenced by marxist theory and communist theory did wonderful things in the south, particularly very, very courageous in many parts of the south and paid for with their lives in any case -- cases. i am not a communist and i don't like the communist party as a developed, but the possibility of a party that had a very open and decentralized vision and a democratizing vision that was different from that or in educating vision that might be a possibility. as we emerge down the line to begin to build new models. it is different from what you're talking about, but there have to
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be people want to do this. >> my issue, the radio stations, i think it is relatively affordable. you go out. a million dollars or so. you could take talk radio out of it. it seems to generate itself. they're taking over radio stations in san francisco and chicago by conservatives taking liberal states. and it is ridiculous. a liberal market. so it is very doable, very
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affordable, and it could create the message to you need to carry out the other transformation. by the way, 1982. the state bank. the balancing. create a logic. just for the city. >> a like that. that is exactly what is happening. in the city of richmond, virginia, the mayor has set up
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an office to create coops. i was in massachusetts recently asking what you could do with city government if you were created. the city government has the power of eminent domain, and it has been used progressively. it has financed in the procurement and the conduct technical assistance, could be used for a lot of interesting things. and then to leave and some of that has been done. the cleveland mayor is looking really good because he has been supporting his development and you're not as dependent on the big corporations, so using the offices of the mayor, and i was in a major tennessee city last week's two weeks ago when the mayor is thinking about doing this kind of stuff. it is doable if you begin to see what is out there practically. it is very practical stuff and it has a very different vision of where we might be going. so go for it. maybe it is the radius station. >> i actually work for a progressive radio show. madison. i have two questions.
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you basically framed a cooperative as a product of necessity of the environment, building a necessity for cooperative. what can people do as there not dire yet. it unnecessarily feel the need to form their own cooperative. and might incentive as a consumer to interact? ..
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>> it doesn't have to be that way. some people do better service. some people are better experience. but necessity, meaning that people are thinking that something different to happen. not only physical and economical, but ecological as well. >> we have to do something better than this whole cultural level or two. on the other hand, virtually all the ones that i have described are equally good in terms of price and usually better and terms of service. so those are pretty good reasons for a lot of people and that is what a lot people are doing. you can build it in some certain
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places. >> so part of this is necessity. people really thinking that something different has to happen. it is psychological as well. >> are you saying that it is more like -- i mean, it's a very small percentage. i am concerned because i don't understand. how is this in regards to the rest of the world? >> well,. >> do you think that this model is best? it seems like we are doing more than ever but were. >> okay, so you're talking about how it is internationally. there are a few things about
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that. the most interesting thing has to do it. 85,000 people, those of you who don't know what it is, it's in integrated set of 85 to 100 co-ops that they work together and they are guaranteed to work. it's a complex organization. highly successful. competing on the world market. technical and high technical equipment and also part of the multinational corporation. but it is all koan. and it is just, to give you the flavor, an 85% of the co-op, it's five to 16 that one. many corporations are 400 to one.
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half a dozen little that words. it is an extraordinary achievement. it comes out of a very special place. it is very important. responding to your question, i think there are applications of these ideas internationally and you can find them in parts of italy and other co-ops and so forth. but i'm very hesitant and to say that our model is the model that should be accepted by the country. i do not like to do that. i think it is presumptuous. but i don't think we know enough about this in very specific countries. so i am hesitant about saying that this model, this
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life-changing model in a very american form, i don't know if that is right. so i say take a look for yourselves. and you know your country better than i do. >> sir, you had your hand up. >> in my experience, my family is part of an immigrant society and there are a bunch of people that participate in various military forces and are actually hiding out there and later on started their own cities and stuff like that. but it seems to me that a lot of the progress as far as procreation is concerned has to do with people who have set up
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in greece and other countries and came over to our country and have emigrated to the united states and served their own communities. and they played a type of political and economic role that you are talking about. how important is immigration and the structure to forming the alliance? >> i do not know the answer to the question. but we have not seen what you're talking about is a significant part. it is pretty much down-home america. >> have you seen that at all? >> i could not answer that specifically. >> okay. my impression is americans have come with good efforts and you
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do have many people in many cultures that you serve, some are part of particular nations i am sure that this is part of the technology. >> yes, that is another possibility. >> you made a very convincing statement about this performance, nonviolent movement. and i think that it is, you know, what you are recommending should be taken to the max. for example those who don't want to touch the issue and in the usa and in america.
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in we need to have good enterprise cooperatives here and that being sad, one of my concerns, however, is even if you push it to the max, there are only five to 10% of the american population that would be reorganizing this that way, and that would be a huge achievement. but the rest of the workforce is trapped in the corporate enterprises and with the huge wealth inequality and so much land and effort that is controlled by the upper 5%, the ability to think the time will come when it will be necessary while we are building this current economy, like the civil
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rights movement, a combination of the civil rights movement and the old militant style labor movement to include the corporate direction and have that be a part of this. my main concern is that i have seen, and i am not saying that this is true of you, but i have been co-ops as an alternative and they have more traditional forms of this. and i find that it is dangerous and very difficult. >> so don't you think that they have to be more informative than the movement to achieve that change and the answer is yes. let me say that in a very careful way, i do not think the
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movement that i know anything about has an idea or a clue and ahead of what they put in place of corporate capitalism if they actually want. they don't have an idea. it is full. and until we learn and develop in know what the heck we want but has produced a democratic system based on this power of wealth, we ought to be careful of that. so i am talking about is the conclusion of the book. that is a possibility. repression is a possibility. the argument is to learn and to begin to really build out so that we have great clarity about
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the system and all that it entails. but on availability may be opening up for you see people experimenting in more sophisticated ways, transforming ownership in a democratic way. that is a big deal. that gets you pretty far in political power. that is certainly not even a systemic design. that was the point in the direction of a vision to put that more clearly. we would have to talk about this more in the book. it is time to put the question of design on the table. what the heck do you want to tell me why it was worth that. that is a sound intellectual challenge and this lays out some
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of the questions. it includes intellectual work as well as political work because people do not know. i do agree that it is part of that in regards to the policy movement. >> sir? >> i have a couple of different questions. one is power without obstruction [inaudible question] [inaudible question] >> okay, so if the steelworkers union was against it.
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thirty years later, a lot of companies in cleveland and forever, they are in the process of developing a over 30 years. they are supporting it as a major initiative in that institution as well. so if you think of it as a process that worked even in virginians, they were set against it. and now they set for it, promoting it all over the country. >> that is very true. if you are looking at history, if you are talking about what is going on with history, is in this part of the process and i don't perceive that we have to or three decades to develop something like this.
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what about this movie or concept of changing from a monetary or social state. do you see that as significant in this is part of democratizing state banks and credit unions. i don't know enough about him a resource base economy. >> probably not enough. during this whole ecological resource aspect of this, which i only began to touch on when i talked about this. there is a lot of pressing coming in from outside of it as well to refresh the limits. i suspect if you look closely at that, we aren't going to solve the climate